Do you have a chronic disease? If so, you are not alone. The Centers for Disease Control define chronic diseases as those that limit the activities of daily living or require ongoing medical attention and last at least a year or more. When defined that way, it’s not surprising that six in 10 American adults have at least one chronic condition, and four out of 10 live with two or more. If you want to learn more about how to manage your chronic disease at work, or if you work with people with chronic diseases and want to help, read on.

Chronic diseases include conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. These conditions are not only prevalent but are primary causes of disability and death. They also contribute significantly to the 3.8 trillion dollars that Americans spend on health care every year. Many chronic diseases are caused by lifestyle behaviors that could be changed or modified, including smoking and being exposed to secondhand smoke; following a diet that contains a lot of saturated fat and salt and few vegetables and fruits; excessive alcohol consumption; and a lack of physical activity.

If you are an employee with a chronic health condition, recognize that your symptoms may affect you at work. Determine how you can address them, whether that means taking more frequent breaks, working from home some of the time, or managing your symptoms. Taking care of your overall health is essential. Consider whether you want to disclose your condition to your supervisor; while this step is not required, it may be beneficial. The accompanying resource details more about this.